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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sam Boshnack Quintet: Nellie Bly Project

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Samantha Boshnack is more than a musician and composer. She is a storyteller who walks us through the history of things. With Nellie Bly Project, she tells the story of daredevil journalist, writer, and feminist Elizabeth Cochran Seaman (1864-1922), known by her pen name, Nellie Bly. The compositions, a four movement suite, are like a journey through the history of the struggles of women throughout American history, a struggle that continues today, and that Boshnack describes as a daily part ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Dino Massa Kansas City Quintet: Echoes Of Europe

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While conversations about the military tend to roam widely, touching on everything from peacekeeping to warmongering, rarely do they touchdown on the topic of cultural exchange. But that's not to say the military doesn't foster such a thing. American troops stationed abroad have always managed to interact with the local population(s), imparting and taking away knowledge in the process, and cross-pollination often materializes through such meetings. Those types of exchanges have helped to build bridges, create lifelong friendships, and birth ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jeff "Siege" Siegel Quartet: King Of Xhosa

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It is appropriate that the opening track on King Of Xhosa, is a hand drum invocation and an introduction in the Xhosa language of South Africa, as that is exactly where the origins and influences of this music came from. Drummer Jeff “Siege" Siegel and his quartet are augmented on this recording by Feya Faku, a South African native, on trumpet and flugelhorn, and the one who sets the character of the music. Siegel, an accomplished drummer, leader, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

B.J. Jansen: Ronin

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Baritone saxophonist B.J. Jansen demonstrates his versatility as a composer and performer on Ronin, his third release as a leader. The nine originals that comprise the album cover a gamut of styles while remaining firmly in the jazz mainstream. On the boppish “Manhattan Trane'in" for instance Jansen wields his horn with agility as he intricately embellishes the melody and deftly navigates its harmonic structure. “Diamonds for Lil," meanwhile, showcases his subtle and emotive balladry as his thick smooth ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sumi Tonooka: NOW: Solo Live at the Howland Cultural Center

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There are some jazz players who suffer an unusually large gap between their credentials and their renown. Pianist Sumi Tonooka is a case in point. She studied with Mary Lou Williams, made her recording début with Detroit trumpeter Marcus Belgrave (of Motown/Tribe Records fame), and was part of Philly Joe Jones's band. Two especially strong albums--Long Ago Today (Artists Recording Collective, 2008) and Initiation (Artists Recording Collective, 2010, with saxophonist Erica Lindsay)--exhibited a distinctive Williams-like piano style, with strong original ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sumi Tonooka: Now

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Sumi Tonooka is a resourceful jazz pianist who, along with alto saxophonist Chris Burnett and tenor saxophonist Erica Lindsay, started the Artists Recording Collective, offering up Initiation (2010), an excellent quartet outing which Tonooka co-led with Lindsay, and a more intimate Tonooka-led trio effort, Long Ago Today (2008). A former student of piano legend Mary Lou Williams and an alum of drummer Philly Joe Jones' band, the pianist knows how to work in an ensemble. But going it alone is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Keith Pray: Confluence

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When most people discuss the jazz scene in New York, they're referring to the music that's made in Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs, but the Empire State stretches far beyond the city that never sleeps and jazz is made in many a locale within. The Capital region, for example, has its own burgeoning jazz scene that's worth noting and saxophonist Keith Pray is a key part of it. Pray has become a force for furthering jazz through ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Keith Pray: Confluence

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When not leading the 17-piece Big Soul Ensemble, the Soul Jazz Revival group or the New Orleans-style Mohawk Brass Band, bandleader, educator and alto saxophonist Keith Pray fronts a hard-swinging quartet performing at venues in Albany and throughout the Capital District of upstate New York. Confluence is his fifth recording as leader, a project he designed for his working quartet but modified with the addition of guitarist Chuck D'Aloia, an idea that remained percolating after seeing a 1994 gig of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Uptown Jazz Collective: She Do What She Do

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The Uptown Jazz Collective makes a strong impression on She Do What She Do, fitting firmly into several grooves. The group is as much at ease singing the blues as it is filtering the essence of jazz, and giving gospel a big slab of soul--even delving into poetry. The band is tight and swings deliciously, creating some fine aural textures that not only complement, but also draw a tangent to, baritone vocalist T.C. III. The singer is in ...


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